Battle Creek man arrested in Dowagiac road rage incident gets prison time

Published 5:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

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CASSOPOLIS — CASSOPOLIS — A Battle Creek man out on parole was also sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court to prison for charges in connection with a road rage incident earlier this year.


David Jerry Shepard, 40, of Battle Creek, pleaded guilty to possession of meth, felonious assault, resisting and obstructing police causing injury and fleeing police-all as a habitual offender, and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 18 months to 20 years, 18 months to eight years and 18 months to four years in prison.  He must pay $3,252 in fines and costs.

The prison terms are concurrent with each other but consecutive to any prison term he may have to serve for violating his parole from a 2020 Cass County sentence for stolen property, firearms and drugs.

The incident occurred April 7 outside of Dowagiac.

Defense attorney Robert Kardatzke said Shepard knows he needs to get his drug use under control. Shepard apologized to the victims and police and said he was thankful no one got hurt.

Judge Mark Herman noted that Shepard was involved in a road rage incident on Dutch Settlement Road on that day, running two people off the road and causing their car to roll over. He fled after police tried to stop him and was eventually caught with drugs and other items.

“You have 29 felony convictions and were on parole when this happened,” the judge said. “You were released on parole in September, 2023 and was testing positive for meth by October … The guidelines here carry prison sentences, I see no mitigating circumstances to warrant any other outcome.”

“You need to consider yourself fortunate, without this plea agreement you would be looking at a much higher prison sentence,” he added.

Two people were sentenced to probation on drug charges.


David Lynn Hurd, Jr., 42, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamines and fleeing and eluding police as a habitual offender and was sentenced to three years probation, credit for five days served and $2,696 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Dec. 26, 2019 in Milton Township south of Niles. Hurd fled from police into Indiana and eventually crashed. Hurd spent three years in prison in Indiana after this incident. Kardatzke noted that Hurd has been sober for more than three years.


Justin James Jarosak, 42, of Shipshewana, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and attempted resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to three years probation, credit for 37 days served and $3,178 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred June 22, 2022 when Jarosak fled from Indiana to Michigan on his motorcycle at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. Police found meth on him when they stopped him.

Judge Herman told him he had been consistently making bad decisions. “You said you made a really bad decision and I couldn’t agree more,” he said. “You’re lucky you didn’t kill yourself or someone else. If you had just stopped, you might have gotten a ticket or a warning. Every time people flee, it gets worse.”